Electricity, excitement, and perhaps a little anxiety filled the air on Election Day Eve along with thousands of people at the IX Center in Cleveland as President Trump held the first of three final campaign rallies for Republicans running in Tuesday’s crucial midterm elections.
At stake is control of the U.S. House and Senate, and Trump let it be known that Ohio will again play a crucial role, just like it did in his election two years ago.
He hit on familiar themes – drugs, crime, immigration, healthcare, and the economy – and urged Ohioans to elect Mike DeWine as governor along with Republican Jim Renacci for Senate, and Reps. Dave Joyce, Troy Balderson, Mike Turner, and Steve Chabot in a handful of competitive congressional races.
“As we speak, the Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to violate our laws and break into our country and they want to sign them up for free welfare, free healthcare, free education and, of course, the right to vote,” Trump said. “And it’s the right to vote that they like the best. They want them to be able to vote.
“There is only one way to end this lawless assault on our dignity, on our sovereignty and on our borders, and that’s by voting tomorrow, Republican,” he exhorted the crowd.
“Illegal immigration costs our country more than $100 billion every single year, and that’s more than the budgets of Ohio, Montana and Wyoming combined,” Trump continued.
Watch President Trump’s entire rally here.
Fear of Cordray
Trump seemed particularly concerned about the prospects of Ohio’s governorship being turned over to Democrat Richard Cordray. He described Cordray as a “far-left radical socialist” and a “bad person” who would destroy the state of Ohio.
“Some Democrats, they’re fine. This guy Cordray is a bad guy, not a good person, he’s hurt a lot of people,” Trump said. “We actually, essentially fired him, so I know a lot about him.”
Cordray served six years as director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the first five years under the Obama administration and one year under Trump.
Trump called DeWine and running mate Jon Husted “smart” leaders who would do what is necessary to propel Ohio’s economy forward, support law enforcement, and keep Ohio safe.
“Mike has spent his entire life fighting for Ohio families, he will keep your jobs going up and up. Mike’s opponent who was in my administration for a short while, who was by the way, terrible, is a far-left radical socialist named Richard Cordray, and not a good person,” Trump reiterated. “He was handpicked and is a disciple of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who I can no longer call Pocahontas because she has no Indian blood.”
“But this Cordray guy, literally, she grabbed him and put him there, and he spent the last six years in Washington crushing people, crushing community banks, destroying small businesses and destroying jobs,” the president continued. “Now Cordray wants to bring his socialist, job-killing crusade and destroy the state of Ohio.”
He said Cordray is “anti-worker and his anti-business extremism will drive your state into poverty.”
Trump said Cordray was “even worse” than Andrew Gillum, the Democrat candidate running for governor of Florida.
“And we have another one like this in the state of Florida. I don’t even know if he’s as bad as Cordray. You want to know the truth? He [Gillum] just doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. This one does. And he’s going to drive your taxes right through the roof. Cordray will destroy Ohio, and destroy its miners and its steel workers and everyone else. If you want a safe and prosperous future for Ohio, vote for Mike DeWine,” Trump continued.
Restoring American Dream
Trump and his daughter Ivanka talked about bringing back the American dream, with job growth at “phenomenal” levels.
“Republicans have created the best economy in the history of our nation and the hottest jobs market, hottest place anywhere in the world right now,” Trump said.
Referencing President Obama’s claims that manufacturing jobs would “never [be] coming back” and that Trump would need a “magic wand” to restore them, Trump humorously claimed that he must have found that magic wand.
“We’re bringing back the America dream. In last month we brought back 250,000 jobs, and these are brand-spanking new jobs,” he continued.
Friday’s government report on jobs showed the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, and the lowest on record for African-Americans, Asia-Americans and Hispanics.
“Good timing with all those good economic numbers that came out Friday,” Trump said. “You think the media maybe wanted to delay them till Wednesday? I think they would have been happy. Those were phenomenal numbers; you haven’t seen numbers like that in many years.”
Trump noted that his administration has “lifted 4.3 million Americans off of food stamps,” while “jobless claims in Ohio have fallen to their lowest level ever recorded.”
“We’re bringing the jobs all back, they’re coming back, and a lot of them are coming to Ohio. Household income for Ohio families has reached the highest level in history of your state and we have brought your coal miners, your steel workers back to work,” he went on.
Some political pundits said DeWine would shy away from showing full support for the president, but Trump won the state by eight points two years ago, and DeWine showed excitement to be at the president’s side in his home state Monday.
“Mr. President, first of all, thank you for being back in Ohio. I am very grateful for your support. I am also very grateful, as we all are, for 82 conservative judges that are now on the bench,” DeWine said. “I’m told there are 30 more coming that will be confirmed in the not-too-distant future. That is an amazing legacy Mr. President.”
But beating Cordray will not be easy for DeWine, who asked Ohioans for their “help tomorrow.”
“This race is about whether we go back or whether we go forward. Richard Corday and Ted Strickland eight years ago took us back. And we lost 400,000 jobs. Because of good Republican leadership, and your tax cut, Ohio had its best year in growing jobs in 21 years. So, we will continue to work until the polls close at 7:30 tomorrow night. Help us get this victory and keep Ohio moving onward,” DeWine urged the crowd.
An ‘electric’ atmosphere in Cleveland
Trump described the atmosphere at the IX Center as “electric.”
“There is something going on Ohio that they are not talking about. Look at this gigantic crowd and there are thousands of people outside. There is something going on,” Trump said. “There is an electricity like people have not seen since 2016 November. Get out and vote. Come on Ohio!
“Tomorrow people of Ohio are going to elect Mike DeWine and a Republican Congress to keep America’s economic boom surging full speed ahead,” he said, though jokingly claimed that he did miscalculate on one thing regarding the economy and jobs.
“I didn’t know we could do it this fast and I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t know we could do it this quickly,” he said. “But everything we achieved is at stake on Election Day. If the radical Democrats take power they will take a wrecking ball to our economy and our future.”
“If crying Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the legendary Maxine Waters gain the majority they will try to raise your taxes, restore job-killing regulations, shut down coal mines and factories, and take away your healthcare, and bring in illegal aliens,” Trump told the crowd.
‘Caravan after caravan’
Trump accused the Democratic party of “inviting caravan after caravan to flood into our country and overwhelm your cities.”
“Have you seen the pictures? And they try to play it down. Well we’re building the wall, don’t worry, $1.6 billion. We’ve already started,” he claimed, bringing chants from the crowd of “build that wall! Build that wall!”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-04) was introduced as a “bull dog” by Trump, and one of his favorite congressmen.
“The president is exactly right. The choice tomorrow could not be more clear,” Jordan said. “The left has gone completely crazy, they applaud Colin Kaepernick when he disrespects the flag, they cheer on Governor Cuomo when he says ‘American was never that great,’ and they embrace Maxine Waters when she says go out and harass anyone who supports our president.”
Trump had high praise for Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH-16), who is running against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), calling Renacci a “wonderful human being,” who’s “strong,” “tough,” and “doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Addressing what has become a constant criticism from Democrats across the nation, Trump made clear that “Republicans will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions, always, always.”
The president also touched on the drugs flowing through the southern border, saying that “nearly 100 percent of the heroin coming into the United States enters through the southern border.”
“Along with roughly 90 percent of the cocaine, the majority of meth, and a substantial portion of deadly fentanyl,” he continued, saying “these drugs kill more than 70,000 Americans a year.”
He concluded by praising ICE for its work in enforcing immigration laws, asking “who else is going to do that?”
“Included were those charged or convicted of approximately 48,000 assaults, 12,000 sex crimes, and 1,800 homicides. Other than that, they’re very nice people. And, by the way, you think we’re letting that caravan come into this country? You can forget it,” he said. “But the Democrats want to abolish ICE, they want America to be a giant sanctuary city for drug dealers, predators, and blood thirsty MS-13 killers. Republicans believe Americans should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens. Republicans will always stand with the heroes of ICE and law enforcement. This election is about safety, and this election is about prosperity.”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.